Why?

To speak you need more than a pair of lips - lip service is not enough!

This blog has been established as a reaction to the perceived lack of coverage of events and news on the most important aspect of the Irish heritage which all the movements with few exceptions pay little more than a grudging lip service which hardly penetrates further into the mouth to the tongue.

Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of this in recent times was the incredible Dingle-Daingean controversy. A language act made its way carefully through the Oireachtas over a period of five years. It was eventually passed, unusually with full cross-party support, after that period with hardly any discussion about it in the English language media. Among the items in that act was one which intimated that the place names in Gaeltacht areas would be recognized officially only in their Irish versions for planning, ordinance and road signage. The minister issued a list of these names shortly afterwards so that people would have a chance to examine and change if necessary. After a space of time he made an order effecting these changes. It was only then that some people in the now officially named An Daingean started their challenge, much to the delight of the media. This necessitated much unnecessary toing and froing, occupying the time of at least two cabinet ministers and innumerable hours of local people organising unofficial polls and gallons of printing ink. Had the English language media publicised the effects of the changes proposed when they were proposed perhaps this ludicrous situation would have been prevented. Who knows?

It is doubtful that the name change would have the slightest difference on tourist numbers to the town, anymore than the change of name of Bombay to Mumbai had any effect on those visiting that city.

We hope to draw attention to happenings (not excluding language classes of various standards).

We also operate the Irish blog Gaeltacht21.

Some facts about Irish: (Based on information available from the relevent Government Department)

1.6 million people in the State indicated in Census 2006 that they have an ability to speak Irish (41.9% of total population).  Of these, 85,000 speak Irish daily outside of the education system.  A further cohort of 97,000 speak Irish less than daily, but at least once a week in addition to the 85,000 daily speakers outside of the education system.  Some 2% of the population have Irish as their first language and some 2% use Irish as the language of the home.  Obviously, there is overlap between these two figures.  So we are talking about a very small minority for whom Irish is their daily language.

Irish has remained the community language in a small number of areas, mainly on the Western seaboard.  These areas are defined in the Gaeltacht Areas Orders 1956-1982.  There are 64,000 Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht (total Gaeltacht population of over 91,000 people).   Over 20,000 of these speak Irish daily outside of the education system.

Irish is taught in all schools as a core curriculum subject at primary and secondary level.

The position of Irish in our society is recognised by article 8 of the Constitution, which provides that Irish, as the national language, is the first official language of the State.  This constitutional position and successive Supreme Court applications of it in case law in turn frames the legal and legislative position of the language.

The views of the elite in the new State that had fought the War of Independence in the 1920s – and the constitutional status they accorded Irish in the constitutions of 1922 and 1937 - were ahead of those of the general population.  It took a long time for the legacy of negative attitudes to change, with three major influences leading to substantial change in the 1980s and 1990s: increasing prosperity, EU membership (with consequent exposure to a world wider than the Anglophone one) and the impact in the last 15 years or so of immigration – it became normal to hear other languages spoken in public.  All this has had a very positive impact on attitudes to Irish.

We welcome releases on the Gaeltacht and the language.